The cultures, histories and societies of the Middle East have been deeply influential in the development of European, Middle Eastern, North African and North American societies. Studying their origins and cultures provides an insight into the challenges of diversity and multiculturalism in an increasingly globalised world. Judaism and Islam in historical and contemporary perspectives present a particular area of interest but the interests of staff and students extends well beyond these areas. The Department shares an approach common to cultural historians across the humanities and we explore the ways in which identities have been formed, translated and transmitted in various cultural and historical contexts. Our research and teaching are anchored in the close study of sources, with equal attention to their original historical contexts as well as their ongoing reception and interpretation.
Academic staff in the Department research and teach in a variety of fields including the Ancient Near East, the Modern Middle East, the Hebrew Bible, Ancient and Modern Judaism, the Holocaust, Human Rights, and Medieval and Modern Islam.
Trinity College has a long tradition of teaching the languages and cultures of the Near and Middle East and this is reflected in the Old Library’s holdings, which include ancient Egyptian papyri as well as Jewish and Muslim books from the Early Modern and Ottoman periods. Both the Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities and the Herzog Centre for Jewish and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures provide valuable resources for building on this tradition.